Top 4 Reasons CT Tubes Fail

CT Tube

An X-ray tube is at the heart of every CT Scanner. You can’t capture diagnostic images without it. Owning and operating a CT system requires watching over the CT tube and knowing what the warning signs are for CT tube failure.  If problems are addressed at the beginning stages, the costs to fix the issue are greatly reduced. 

So, what are the warning signs?

Loud Humming Noise - When a user hears a continuous humming sound it is because the bearing inside the tube housing are wearing down.  When a scan is being performed, the anode of the tube is constantly spinning.  Because of this constant state of spinning, eventually the inside tube housing wears down. 

Arc Error Messages that Interrupt Scanning Minor electrical arcing in the tube can be tolerated by your CT Scanner.  However, if the arcing gets to be too much, you may get interrupted mid-scan.  In your log, check for arc-related error messages.  These can be cleared easily and will not put your system into a hard down at first. Arc error messages are a signal that increases in the frequency of additional errors and interruptions are likely to occur soon.

Arc Error with Immediate Shutdown An immediate shut down error indicates that arcing is happening consistently in the CT tube.  There is a problem with the tube.  It is important to let a cold tube run through its warm-up sequence.  If the tube is cold, this error is likely to happen.  Before each scanning schedule, allow time for the tube to warm-up.    

Change in Frequency of Tube Cooling Delay The system will stop between techniques if your CT scanner is reaching the upper limits of it’s operating temperature.  It does this to give the tube a break.  If you notice longer breaks occurring, there may be a problem. 

Do you have CT tube failure warning signs? 

If these warning signs start to occur with your CT Scanner, we recommend calling your imaging equipment service organization and have your system checked out.  These issues can be circumvented if they are caught early and there hasn’t been too much damage to the tube.  It may require a field engineer to come to your facility, clear the error messages and run preventative measures to keep you up and running while you search for a solution.  Or, you may need to replace the tube.  Other technical considerations should also be considered.

Speak with one of our knowledgeable system representatives for additional information or more help. (833) 204-6618